The Real Estate Executive Council (“REEC”, www.reec.org) adds its collective voice to the millions of voices responding to the death of George Floyd and systemic racism deeply ingrained in the fabric of this country that enables such a senseless loss of life to occur. The confluence of this event with the ongoing disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is shining a glaring light on clear shortcomings (if not outright failures) of the social, economic and political systems in this country. The obvious question is: how do we make it better?
Clearly there is no easy answer to this question, but as an organization that has the advancement of people of color within the commercial real estate (“CRE”) industry as a primary component of our mission, our commitment to helping to answer this question is stronger than ever.
To the greater CRE community: through true Inclusion at all levels our industry has the power to affect real and meaningful systemic change to the political, social and economic systems at local, state and national levels. We commend those in the CRE industry who have spoken out and expressed outrage with the recent events. REEC echoes those sentiments and adds that a meaningful way to affect change is to seek and employ the tools necessary to increase diversity and create a truly inclusive environment within your companies and across the industry.
To our members, each of which see themselves or a family member in George Floyd/Ahmaud Arbery/Breonna Taylor: Engage. Engage in discussions with each other, with your colleagues and clients, and with your greater community. Support each other. Tell your story or stories that are personal to you so that the “glaring light” continues to shine on this issue and encourages change to occur. Direct those who ask “what can I do” to organizations whose missions are to attack and address persistent racism and inequality in this country.
To America: Listen. Listen to those who are expressing frustrations with the failure of the promise of the American dream. Hear their cries with an ear interested in addressing their frustrations, not one that is interested in explaining away their plight. The evidence is clear – despite all that we collectively and individually believe we are doing CHANGE IS NOT HAPPENING (George Floyd = Rodney King). How many voices over the 30 years since the Rodney King event have tried to say Black Lives Matter? Now is the time to finally listen to those voices.
Collectively we can drive meaningful change. REEC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the CRE industry has never been stronger. We will partner with all who are interested in affecting this change and welcome your collaboration. None of us can do this alone.
REEC Board & Staff